GlaxoSmithKline has signed a multi-million dollar deal with privately-held US firm, Vitae Pharmaceuticals, which sees the two companies forming a worldwide strategic alliance to develop and sell compounds for the treatment of hypertension and related cardiovascular disorders.

Under the terms of the deal, Vitae will receive an undisclosed upfront payment from GSK, which is also making an equity investment in the Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based group. Vitae could receive up to $175 million for its clinical work on the lead product, and would receive royalties upon commercialisation, as well as retaining the right to co-promote any resulting product in the USA. The agreement will become effective upon completion of closing conditions and the usual regulatory approvals.

Specifically Vitae says it has created multiple, novel chemical series of renin inhibitors using its proprietary drug discovery engine, called Contour, and claims that they have “progressed from discovery to achievement of animal model proof of concept in less than 12 months.”

The firms say they will now pool their respective renin programmes and GSK will put in the funds for developing the inhibitors which one of its spokesmen said show the potential “to offer a new approach for the growing number of patients impacted by this disease.”